Free While Constrained: Side-Bent, Stepping Down (Patrons)

Mostly back-lying, some front-lying. Enjoy the rich internal reconfigurations and freedoms that are prompted as you learn how to use your legs and pelvis with ease while your head, spine, ribs, and shoulders are constrained in a gentle side-bent position. Themes of skeletal support and sensing your primary spinal bias are also touched on. The bias is discussed briefly after the lesson.


Before you begin read this for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below.

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, this lesson is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only.

Tip – Comments

Project tip: Leave a lesson comment below! It’s a great way to give feedback or ask a question, and it helps google find us so we can achieve The Feldenkrais Project’s vision!

Browser/device size and audio player

Tech tip: On mobile? Depending on screen size, the audio player appears differently. Try landscape mode or start playback then use your phone’s audio controls.

Tip – skip a lesson

Study tip: If you can’t find a comfortable way to do the initial movements or configuration of a lesson, it’s ok to skip it for now and go on to another lesson.

Tip – Directions are Relative

Study tip: Directions are always relative to your body. For example, if you’re lying on your back “up” is toward your head, and “forward” is toward the ceiling.

Tip – Login

Join the Project! If you already have, thank you for your support! Members and Patrons can access the full lesson notes in the tabs below: just login.

Tip – Pause the recording

Study tip: If you’re really enjoying a movement and want to explore longer, or you just need a break for a while, pause the recording!

Tip 5 – Discomfort

Study tip: If a configuration or movement causes any increase in discomfort, or you feel you just don’t want to do it, don’t! Make it smaller and slower, adapt it, or rest and imagine.

Tip 2 – Social Sharing

Project tip: Try the social buttons below. Please help us to achieve our vision: spreading the life-changing benefits of Feldenkrais study as widely as possible!

Tip 3 – Head Support

Study tip: It helps to have a large bath towel nearby when you start a lesson. You can fold it differently for comfortable head support in any configuration.

Tip – Lesson names

What’s in a lesson title? Lessons are about an hour unless a shorter duration is shown in the title. Thanks to our donors they’re freely offered unless marked “Patrons” – those are how we thank our Patron-level donors.

While we offer 52 free lessons, this one's just for our Patron-level donors. You can preview the lesson notes and comments below, but to access the audio you’ll need to join The FP as a Patron. Learn more

If you are a Patron, please log in:

Avoid high-friction mats (like a tacky yoga mat) for this lesson.

Before class started I shared an email from one of the students, which gets mentioned in the lesson. You can find it in the Curiosities tab.

The pelvis is never lifted completely off the ground in this lesson, but around 22:30 I misspoke, saying “as you lift your pelvis.” Your pelvis should stay on the ground and instead roll, as in each of the previous push-foot-and-roll-pelvis movements.

This is a great lesson for reversing all the lefts and rights on subsequent listenings. As you learn to sense and connect with your primary spinal bias it’s a useful experiment to try the other side first.

Right before the recording picks up I read Laura’s email below to the students in the class, with her permission.

Nick, over the coming weeks, as we work on more challenging lessons, could you talk more about the feeling of wanting to “bolt”—either emotionally, physically, mentally? Someone having SI trouble doesn’t feel that different to me from my nervous system feeling agitated, or like I could just fall asleep. It all feels like resistance. Maybe I’m looking for some failsafe way to resist resistance—haha! I know the rewards are there if we stick with it—I’ve learned that over and over in my life. This all feels very much like a metaphor for the lockdown—how people are alternatively agitated, tired, content, disturbed, happy, sad, energized, or not. I guess I could boil it all down to this, and it’s not even a question, but I’m reminded of how important it is to just stick with ourselves, to be present with our discomfort.

I responded in part with this quote from Sam Harris (philosopher, neuroscientist, and meditation teacher), used during the lesson’s opening scan:

Pay attention to your experience without resistance, without a plan, without making an attempt to change it…. Let your mere attention to sensation puncture whatever state you’re in….

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our collection of lessons exclusively for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors, with one or more new lessons added every month. It’s also in our Free While Constrained Deep Dive.

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Got a question for Nick, or a thought about this lesson?

Use the comments section below! Public comments build our community and help search engines find us.


Leave a Comment